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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 34
10-02-2009, 10:08 PM
Originally Posted by bobalobabingbong View Post
I actually enjoyed reading posts from both of you.

You are discussing, rather than flaming, like most do, and you're both giving me some things to think about.

Besides, this is a discussion forum, isn't it?
Thanks for saying that, bobalobabingbong. It's appreciated.

And I agree -- discussing things is a lot more fun than hurling abuse.

If I may be permitted to wax self-indulgent (again), when I first went online back in <mumble-mumble> I thought every conversation was a debate I had to win. I would verbally grab by the lapels anyone who disagreed with some opinion of mine and make them acknowledge that I was Right. If facts and logic (as I understood them) didn't do it, then I'd just refuse to quit and would try to "win" through persistence.

Eventually I noticed that people didn't want to talk with me for some reason. When I looked around, I saw how the online folks who were respected the most did things: they listened. They had their opinions, but they didn't use those opinions as clubs to beat down others -- they offered their opinions as conversation-starters to encourage others to participate in the exchange of ideas.

Winning, it seemed, wasn't about ending the conversation. It was about nurturing a conversation so that anyone who had something useful to contribute had a chance to do so.

I can't say I've always followed that philosophy since then. (And I make no claims to being respected.) But I can say that I've had a lot more fun online since I cut back on the win-at-any-cost attitude and the supposedly clever one-line retorts and started doing more listening.

As for my response to the ZAM article... I debated a long time with myself over whether I should write that. I knew it would bother some people here, and I don't like doing that. I also don't like sounding negative. At the same time, I sincerely thought that article raised some serious issues of both form and content, and while Cryptic's PR folks might have liked it, it did not serve the gaming community well. Ultimately I figured I'd go ahead and say my piece, and then step back and give others the opportunity to agree, disagree, or ignore it.

When Kirby responded, I could have gotten mad. "Rrrrr, how dare someone challenge me, rrrrrrrr, must destroy!!" But why get mad? Like I said then, anyone who dishes out criticism has no business complaining when someone objects. Besides, Kirby's comments helped me realize that there were some things I hadn't said as clearly as I could have. When I thanked him for taking the time to comment, that wasn't mere politeness; that was sincere appreciation for giving me a bunch of chances to express myself more clearly.

I'm going on way too long here, but the point is that I definitely think there's room online -- including on game forums -- for people to disagree with each other without being jerks about it. Not everybody is ready for that, but those who are have, I think, a responsibility to lead by example, to demonstrate that the posters who have the most fun over the long haul are the ones who show up not to win debates but to exchange viewpoints and ideas.

In the meantime, there's always the player crews issue to argue about. :p